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Bullying from the Perspective of Restorative Justice

The model based on principles of restorative justice involves the relationship between the bully and school as well as the bully and victim relationship. A student might be inclined toward bullying when a bond has not been successfully formed with the school and, therefore, the consequence of bully behavior is not considered to be detrimental to the wider school community.

A restorative justice approach to intervention can involve family meetings with the bully and victim, as well as peer mediation. The format of such meetings can include a peer group conference led by a trained member of staff to address the incident and resolve the problems, or a structured conference with all parties, along with parents and school personnel to discuss the hurt and harm caused, and identify the actions needed to be taken to repair the damage done to those affected. This is intended to

inform the bully about the impact such behavior has on the whole school community and encourage them to acknowledge the negative consequence of their behavior on others. Encouraging pro-social behavior enables students to contribute effectively to the school environment, which promotes a sense ofownership.

A school climate can be altered to improve antisocial behavior with a proactive school ethos and positive atmosphere of the school community reflected in the student outcomes. In contrast, school climate can be implicated in negative outcomes, lack of commitment or attachment to school can impact on negative behavior, with bullies reporting a poor school relationship. A school ethos placing responsibility on the teachers creates a sense of apathy within the student population, thus reducing the effectiveness of anti-bullying measures in place.71,96,97